2023 World Championships: Day 5 Prelims Live Recap






  • Women’s 100 Freestyle
  • Men’s 200 Backstroke
  • Women’s 200 Breaststroke
  • Men’s 200 Breaststroke
  • Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay

Day 5 prelims at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka is underway. It’s another relatively short prelims session this morning (or evening, depending on where you’re following from), scheduled to last right about 90 minutes.

This morning’s action will feature heats of the women’s 100 free, men’s 200 back, women’s 200 breast, men’s 200 breast, and women’s 4×200 free relay.

Of course, all eyes will be on Australia’s Mollie O’Callaghan in the women’s 100 free over the next two days. O’Callaghan has been on fire in Fukuoka, most recently breaking Federica Pellegrini’s World Record in the 200 free with a 1:52.85. O’Callaghan has also already been 52.08 from a flat-start in the 100 free this week, having led off Australia’s women’s 4×100 free relay in that time on the first day of the meet.

Speaking of O’Callaghan, the World Record will be in jeopardy today in the women’s 4×200 free relay, thanks in part to her. Australia holds the WR in the event at 7:39.29, and after O’Callaghan and Ariarne Titmus went 1:52.85 and 1:53.01 in the 200 free last night, it seems overwhelmingly likely the Aussies shatter the 4×2 record tonight. That journey starts this morning, where Australia just needs to grab a lane for the final.

We’ll get to see another World Record holder, Australia’s Zac Stubblety-Cook, compete in his best event as well. ZSC comes into the men’s 200 breast as the defending champion and WR holder in the event. He’ll surely be pushed by China’s Qin Haiyang, who has already won the men’s 50 and 100 breast this week in Fukuoka.


  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 51.71 (2017)
  • World Junior Record: Penny Oleksiak, Canada – 52.70
  • Championship Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 51.71 (2017)
  • 2022 World Champion: Mollie O’Callaghan, Australia – 52.67
  • 2022 World Champs Top 16: 54.56


  1. Siobhan Haughey (Hong Kong) – 53.15
  2. Abbey Weitzeil (United States) – 53.25
  3. Emma McKeon (Australia) – 53.40
  4. Marie Wattel (France) – 53.59
  5. Michelle Coleman (Sweden) – 53.72
  6. Marrit Steenbergen (Netherlands) – 53.82
  7. Mollie O’Callaghan (Australia) – 54.01
  8. Cheng Yujie (China) – 54.11
  9. Stephanie Balduccini (Brazil) – 54.15
  10. Beryl Gastaldello (France) – 54.16
  11. Kate Douglass (United States) – 54.41
  12. Yang Junxuan (China) – 54.45
  13. Sofia Morini (Italy) – 54.50
  14. Aimee Canny (South Africa) – 54.60
  15. Signe Bro (Denmark) – 54.61
  16. Rikako Ikee (Japan) – 54.67

The final heat of the women’s 100 free this morning sort of threw us for a loop. Australia’s Mollie O’Callaghan swam a very relaxed race, clocking an incredibly smooth looking 54.01. it seemed like the rest of the heat was expecting O’Callaghan to be going fast, seen as she just broke the World Record in the 200 free last night, and because they were just trying to stay with her, it ended up being the slowest of the circle-seeded heats by far.

American Kate Douglass, who is operating in a very tough double today with the 200 breast left on her schedule this morning, was also in that heat with O’Callaghan. Douglass swam a 54.41, coming in 11th.

On the other end of things, Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey looked great this morning, putting up a very strong prelims swim of 53.15. The other American, Abbey Weitzeil, was also close to her top form, taking 2nd overall in 53.25.

Of note, Leukemia survivor Rikako Ikee also managed to advance to the semifinals, finishing in 16th and moving on in front of a home crowd.


  • World Record: Aaron Peirsol, United States – 1:51.92 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia – 1:55.14 (2017)
  • Championship Record: Aaron Peirsol, United States – 1:51.92 (2009)
  • 2022 World Champion: Ryan Murphy, United States – 1:54.52
  • 2022 World Champs Top 16: 1:59.77


  1. Bradley Woodward (Australia) – 1:57.14
  2. Roman Mityukov (Switzerland) – 1:57.24
  3. Hubert Kos (Hungary) – 1:57.27
  4. Ryan Murphy (United States) – 1:57.37
  5. Apostolos Siskos (Greece) – 1:57.40
  6. Oliver Morgan (Great Britain) – 1:57.61
  7. Hugh McNeill (Canada) – 1:57.73
  8. Destin Lasco (United States) – 1:57.84
  9. Brodie Paul Williams (Great Britain) – 1:57.92
  10. Hugo Gonzalez (Spain) – 1:57.99 (TIE)
  11. Juho Lee (South Korea) – 1:57.99 (TIE)
  12. Mewen Tomac (France) – 1:58.09
  13. Daiki Yanagawa (Japan) – 1:58.14
  14. Benedek Kovacs (Hungary) – 1:58.17
  15. Antoine Herlem (France) – 1:58.20
  16. Hidekazu Takehara (Japan) – 1:58.46

In a shockingly tight prelims of the men’s 200 back, 1st and 16th were separated by just 1.32 seconds. Not only was it a tight field this morning, it was significantly faster than last year. At last year’s World Championships, it took a 1:59.77 to make it back for semifinals. This morning, it took a 1:58.46.

It was Australian Bradley Woodward who led the pack this morning, speeding to a 1:57.14. Woodward put some excellent closing speed on display, roaring home in 28.99 on the final 50m, marking the fastest final 50 split in the field.

100 back champion Ryan Murphy also made it through with out an issue, swimming a 1:57.37. The swim was basically right in line with his prelims performance from last summer, where he swam a 1:56.96. Murphy won gold in this event last year with a 1:54.52.

Fellow American Destin Lasco, competing in his first individual race at a World Championships, also advanced, coming in 8th this morning with a 1:57.84.


  • World Record: Evgeniia Chikunova, Russia – 2:17.55 (2023)
  • World Junior Record: Viktoria Gunes, Turkey – 2:19.64 (2015)
  • Championship Record: Rikke Pedersen, Denmark – 2:19.11 (2013)
  • 2022 World Champion: Lilly King, United States – 2:22.41
  • 2022 World Champs Top 16: 2:27.95


  1. Tes Schouten (Netherlands) – 2:22.43
  2. Tatjana Schoenmaker (South Africa) – 2:22.92
  3. Thea Blomsterberg (Denmark) – 2:23.41
  4. Lilly King (United States) – 2:23.68
  5. Kotryna Teterevkova (Lithuania) – 2:24.87
  6. Abbey Harkin (Australia) – 2:25.11
  7. Gabrielle Silva (Brazil) – 2:25.18
  8. Runa Imai (Japan) – 2:25.27
  9. Kate Douglass (United States) – 2:25.50
  10. Kelsey Wog (Canada) – 2:25.60
  11. Ye Shiwen (China) – 2:25.93
  12. Sophie Hansson (Sweden) – 2:26.01
  13. Martina Carraro (Italy) – 2:26.10
  14. Macarena Ceballos (Argentina) – 2:26.18
  15. Lisa Mamie (Switzerland) – 2:26.55
  16. Mona McSharyy (Ireland) – 2:26.59

Prelims of the women’s 200 breast was a little faster than last year, with it taking a 2:26.59 to make the top 16 this morning.

Dutchwoman Tes Schouten looked great this morning as she sped to the top time in the field, swimming a 2:22.43. She got out to a very good start, splitting 1:07.61 on the first 100m, which was the fastest front half by far of anyone in the heat.

South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker came in 2nd overall this morning, also clocking a 2:22. The defending Olympic Champion in the event, Schoenmaker previously held the World Record in this event.

Defending World Champion Lilly King came in 4th this morning, putting up a strong prelims swim of 2:23.68. Fellow American Kate Douglass successfully maneuvered her double this morning, avoiding disaster by finishing 9th in the 200 breast with a 2:25.50. Douglass swam in the previous women’s event, the 100 free, at the beginning of the session.


  • World Record: Zac Stubblety-Cook, Australia – 2:05.95
  • World Junior Record: Dong Zhihao, China – 2:08.83 (2023)
  • Championship Record: Anton Chupkov, Russia – 2:06.12 (2019)
  • 2022 World Champion: Zac Stubblety-Cook, Australia – 2:07.07
  • 2022 World Champs Top 16: 2:11.89


  1. Zac Stubblety-Cook (Australia) – 2:08.98
  2. Caspar Corbeau (Netherlands) – 2:09.29
  3. Matt Fallon (United States) – 2:09.32
  4. Aleksas Savickas (Lithuania) – 2:09.66
  5. Qin Haiyang (China) – 2:09.86
  6. Josh Matheny (United States) – 2:09.90
  7. Dong Zhihao (China) – 2:10.06
  8. Ippei Watanabe (Japan) – 2:10.11
  9. Anton McKee (Iceland) – 2:10.29
  10. Arno Kamminga (Netherlands) – 2:10.47
  11. Erik Persson (Sweden) – 2:10.51 (TIE)
  12. Antoine Marc (France) – 2:10.51 (TIE)
  13. Lyubomir Epitropov (Bulgaria) – 2:10.76
  14. Matti Mattsson (Finland) – 2:11.00
  15. Shoma Sato (Japan) – 2:11.03
  16. Maksym Ovchinnikov (Ukraine) – 2:11.71

World Record holder and defending World Champion Zac Stubblety-Cook led the field in prelims of the men’s 200 breast this morning. ZSC looked smooth as he sped to a 2:08.98, finishing as the only swimmer under 2:09 this morning.

While ZSC was the only swimmer under 2:09, there were quite a few under 2:10 this morning. Coming in 2nd overall was Netherlands’ Caspar Corbeau, who swam a 2:09.29. That’s a great morning time for Corbeau, who has a personal best of 2:08.57 in the event.

China’s Qin Haiyang, who has already won the men’s 50 breast and 100 breast this week in Fukuoka, showed that he’ll contend in the 200 as well, taking 5th in 2:09.86.

Both Americans were under 2:10 this morning, making the U.S. the only country to achieve two swimmers under that mark. Matt Fallon led the way in 2:09.32 for 3rd, while Josh Matheny touched in 2:09.90 for 6th.


  • World Record: Australia – 7:39.29 (2022)
  • Championship Record: United States – 7:41.45 (2022)
  • 2022 World Champion: United States – 7:41.45
  • 2022 World Champs Top 8: 7:59.87


  1. United States – 7:46.36
  2. Australia – 7:47.84
  3. Great Britain – 7:51.13
  4. China – 7:51.55
  5. Netherlands – 7:53.52
  6. Canada – 7:54.73
  7. Hungary – 7:55.26
  8. Brazil – 7:56.14

That was as good of a prelims of the women’s 4×200 free relay as the United States could have hoped for. Facing what will be an uphill battle against the Australian women’s freestyle juggernaut in finals tonight, the Americans at least managed to grab lane 4 for the final.

The Americans led off veteran Leah Smith, who got out to a 1:57.78. Swimming in the first of the heats this morning, Smith touched in 3rd, so teenager Erin Gemmell dove in in 3rd place, trailing China and Great Britain. Gemmell clocked the fastest time of the morning, however, speeding to a 1:55.65, giving the U.S. the lead. 16-year-old Alex Shackell then dove in, getting out to a blistering start of 55.33 on the first 100m of her swim. She ended up finishing with a split of 1:56.05, handing off to Anna Peplowski. Peplowski brought the American team home in 1:56.88, stopping the clock at 7:46.36, which would end up being the fastest time of the morning.

Though the U.S. had a very positive performance this morning, the race is still Australia’s to lose tonight. The Aussies used Madi Wilson (1:57.06), Lani Pallister (1:56.83), Brianna Throssell (1:56.31), and Kiah Melverton (1:57.64), winning the 2nd of the heats this morning in 7:47.84, marking the 2nd-fastest time of the morning.

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2 months ago

Qin hai ying winning the 200 tonight

2 months ago

That’s a new Cal men’s 100m free team record, beats Nathan’s 47.52 from London.

2 months ago

USA:Gemmell, Ledecky, Sims, Shackell
Aus: MOC, Jack, Throssell, Titmus

I guess the US coaches are finally reading the comments lol and the Dean’s made the logical chocie with MOC and Arnie

It’s SPW vs the US

Last edited 2 months ago by Steph
Reply to  Steph
2 months ago

So interested to see how Jack goes! If she’s in her 1;55 low form then it’s done. But I’m a little worried about her off swim at trials

Reply to  Steph
2 months ago

And wow Weinstein got dumped. That’s rough!

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Not even a heat swim to collect a medal.

Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

Yeah you think they would have at least given her that. But I guess they brought one too many relay only swimmers. Smith, Gemmell, Shackell and Peplowski all HAD to swim this right? So giving Weinstein a chance would mean forcing a relay only on to the final.

They just lost a potential 1:55 low though. If we somehow lose this I will be so crushed.

Alison England
Reply to  Steph
2 months ago

AUS for the win in a new WR.

Awsi Dooger
2 months ago

It wasn’t this session but that 200 semifinal butterfly strategy was absolutely the correct one from Regan Smith. She’s vulnerable to fading late with a small lead. With a sizable lead it won’t matter. Summer has strangely not been taking it out fast in finals. If she cedes too much of a margin to Regan I doubt the order will switch.

Not-so-Silent Observer
2 months ago

Over Under on Americans getting an AR in the pursuit of the gold against the Aussies?

In the 4×200 ofc

Reply to  Not-so-Silent Observer
2 months ago

Who is the real Claire Weinstein?

1:55.26 or 1:57.03

Reply to  Not-so-Silent Observer
2 months ago

I say they likely get it.

If Ledecky pulls a 1:53 high, Gemmell and Sims pull 1:54 high to 1:55 low and Weinstein or Shackell can pull a 1:56 flat then that’s the AR by over a second.

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Ledecky is not cracking 1.54. Those days are gone.

Not-so-Silent Observer
Reply to  Madge
2 months ago

I’d settle for two 1:54s and two 1:55s

Hawaiian Reeves
Reply to  Madge
2 months ago

Definitely not gone. She always comes through in relays.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Madge
2 months ago

People said that in Tokyo and she has been 1:53 the last two times she swam it

Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
2 months ago

Not tonight however, but still a great effort

Last edited 2 months ago by Madge
Not-so-Silent Observer
Reply to  Not-so-Silent Observer
2 months ago

For context

7:40.73 USA
(A. Schmitt-1:56.34, P. Madden-1:55.25,
K. McLaughlin-1:55.38, K. Ledecky-1:53.76)
2020 Olympic Games

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Not-so-Silent Observer
2 months ago

USA is likely getting new AR.

Whether it’s enough to win gold is a different question.

Reply to  Fukuoka Gold
2 months ago

It’s definitely not. Have you seen Australians girls?

2 months ago

I know it’s been said that McKeon has not swum 200 free for a while (and didn’t even swim this event during Aus trial), but surely she would still be swimming faster than any of the split times by the Aus swimmers in the 4×2 heat and therefore *should* be in the final??

Reply to  Chris
2 months ago

She probably could but it’s not worth the gamble.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

outside of the 6 swimmers that will have swum across heats and finals, jack is a better pick than mckeon.

Last edited 2 months ago by Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
2 months ago

Surely Jack will be in the final but there’s still another leg to be filled.

Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

Team and swimming order – for mine – would be:


Madi is the proven relay performer of all other contenders. I’m not counting Emma as a contender.

Last edited 2 months ago by Oceanian
Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Chris
2 months ago


Reply to  Chris
2 months ago

Emma McKeon hasn’t trained for the 200 free in a couple of years, so that’s a no

2 months ago

2023 World Aquatics Championships
USA Swimming
W 4 x 200 FR-R
Weinstein, Claire – SAND
Sims, Bella – SAND
Gemmell, Erin – NCAP
Ledecky, Katie – NCAP

I like symmetry in my life.

2 months ago

Ok so the Aussie heats times weren’t amazing but even with them we’re still looking good:

MOC: 1:53.50 (assuming she’ll be slower than last night)
Jack: 1:55.50 (capable of more than this considering her form but being conservative)
Throssell: 1:56.30 (assuming she doesn’t improve from heats but she might)
Titmus: 1:53.00 (again, a bit slower than last night)

I feel like all 4 of those are conservative. They add up to 7:38.3. WR is 7:39.29.

If we somehow lose this again I will cry.

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

didn’t Titmus go 1:53.01 last night?

Reply to  Steph
2 months ago

Yes but that was on a flat start. A 1:53.00 flying split is much slower than a 1:53.01 flat

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Hopefully she won’t pull a Huske.

Fish On A Bike
Reply to  Pescatarian
2 months ago

It’s funny/sad that pulling a Lezak and pulling a Huske are inherently understood.

Reply to  Steph
2 months ago

Subtract a few tenths for a rolling start and a 1:53.0 on a relay is more like a 1:53.3 from a flat start.

Reply to  Steph
2 months ago

Yes but flat start

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

No Emma McKeon? Aussies love to swap out the heats

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Shackell, Ledecky Gemmel and sims. In that order. Shackell went out too fast in prelims they can get her to pace off MOC and pick up half a second and maybe more. Ledecky gets the lead back and Gemmel adds a few tenths to the lead and then Sims goes last prob loses by 1.5 to 2 secs to Titmus

Reply to  Taa
2 months ago

Shackell was a 1:56.05 flying split, so that’s about a 1:56.55 flat. Let’s assume she does go faster against MOC, giving a 1:56.05 again.

Give Gemmell a 1:55.00
Sims a 1:54.90 (she had that great split last year but her times in the individual don’t suggest she should be faster than this)
Ledecky a 1:53.8 as a generous split

That gives you 7:39.75.

It really is in the hands of the Aussie girls. They only lose if they mess up bad, but that’s happened before.

Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi
Reply to  Taa
2 months ago

I’m sorry but the only person on the USA relay that is of similar calibre to any of the Aussie girls in the relay is ledecky. And whilst ledecky has still been dominating in the long distance events, her pace has been off in the 200/400. Aussie girls got it in the bag.